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The University of Southern California has filed an appeal with the National Collegiate Athletic Association, arguing that the sanctions placed on the university football program be reduced. The appeal did not contest all aspects of the sanctions, but argued that much of the punishment was overly severe and "inconsistent with precedent." The NCAA punishment included four years of probation, a two-year post season bowl ban, removal of championships and a loss of multiple scholarships.
The sanctions came after a four-year investigation of the entire athletic department, which found numerous violations of NCAA rules. The report focused largely on improper benefits for Heisman winning, and now NFL star running back Reggie Bush as well as former basketball player O.J. Mayo. The report found that Bush was showered with gifts and other improper benefits from sports marketers hoping to sign him after he turned professional. The gifts included limousine transportation, hotel stays, clothing, and even a home for Bush's family.
"...violations of NCAA rules did occur, especially involving impermissible benefits going to student athletes...from unscrupulous sports agents and sports marketers," said Todd Dickey, USC's senior vice president for administration. "We take full responsibility for those violations..."
As is common practice, USC submitted proposed self-imposed sanctions for programs that had violated NCAA rules, including the women's tennis team, the men's basketball team and the football team. The self-imposed sanctions were approved for all programs except for the football team.
The appeals process takes several months and the appeal committee does not meet until September, therefore an answer is unlikely to come until early next year.
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